Building a deck is always a nice idea especially for your backyard. There are several excellent options of wood species to consider, but it is important to look at the pros and cons of each option. Meanwhile, knowing your region, budget, design, and aesthetic preferences will be as important too.
Best Wood Material
When it comes to wood decking, the most preferred materials for US citizens include the following:
This is probably the most exclusive wood choice for decking. The use of redwood is not limited due to the fact that old redwood trees are getting rarer than ever. Meanwhile, you need to take it from the old trees for materials. This should explain the price today.
Naturally, redwood is a good option for so many pro points. It is rugged enough so splitting, checking, and warping are totally impossible with this wood.
Its original attributes make it insect and decay resistant too. The natural structure is actually open celled as well so it has no resin or pitch on it. It allows you to have strong structural and its graceful look for longer years.
With this wood choice, maintenance is easy. It can work well without any finish as it already looks so nice. However, your finish will stay longer and as pretty along the years because this wood actually absorbs the finish and retain it.
You can simply reapply the stain to maintain the desired look every several years, very cheap. However, it originally comes from the West Coast, so if you are living on the other side of US or maybe just far away from this area, this wood price can be insanely expensive!
Cedar wood is known for being durable. It is naturally resistant to insect infestation, rot, or moisture. How is it possible? This wood naturally transforms moisture in it into as closest as possible to the local atmosphere.
Moisture is known to be the very culprit of wood split and warp, especially during cold season. In cedar, such issues are already prevented naturally. It explains why maintenance is also low on this material, and this natural attribute actually extend the life of your decking.
When you build a deck with this wood, it will be taken from old trees that are around 100 to 250 years old. Of course, there is also a troubling fact that the numbers of these particular trees are hugely reduced by the years.
You shouldn’t be surprised too that several builders will recommend you using this wood for other purposes for the deck. Cedar wood can be categorized as a soft wood, so it is considered to have insufficient strength for decking structure.
Instead, it will be an excellent choice when it comes to building the planters, pergola, privacy fencing, as well as railing balustrade. This wood has natural tendency for splinter, so this suggestion may be legit.
3. Pressure Treated Lumber
This option is also getting more and more popular. In a matter of price, this material is far cheaper. It is also insect and rot resistant, which is a welcomed feature for decking material. Regardless where you live, this material is actually available to every corner of US.
This material isn’t foreign when it comes to decking. As it can hold up nicely, it is often used as deck structure support by builders. Commonly, these lumbers remain unseen for being covered by the decking floor. If you plan to show it up as the actual decking, its natural look won’t be too disappointing.
Pressure treated lumber is actually available on a wide price range. You will be able to find the cheap one. However, you need to be keen on its quality. Low prices lumber is commonly very unstable, making it unfitting for decking material.
Several common problems that happen to these lumbers on lower grades will be warping and shrinking. There are issues on twisting as well which is a huge no for decking. To solve this problem, you should consider using only lumber with higher grades. If you want to, there are premium grades as well, and it usually comes with pre painting and insects repellant too.
You Have Alternatives Too!
Other than those three options, there are other wood species and kinds that you can consider to use as well. The alternatives should include:
This wood is also a popular choice when you are willing to extend the budget. This wood price alone is already very pricey. If you can’t find it near you, it is highly possible that it will cost even more because you need to ship it. This wood offers not just elegance but also long lasting deck, making your space a luxurious one.
This wood was originally shipped from Southeast Asia, which explains why it was pretty expensive. Teak wood is really beautiful and strong, making a sturdy and long lasting decking. It is now more affordable because you can get it from Mexico and South America where this wood is categorized as plantation grown tree.
Ipe wood is hard. It explains why it is hard to work with this wood, and why labor cost will be higher. However, this wood is also known to have tight grain and smooth surface. These attributes allow the wood to be termite and mildew resistant. The price averagely affordable and it is very strong too.
If you want to be environmentally healthy, you can use ipe that are stamped. These particular wood are claimed to be taken from managed forests specially for material supply.
4. Southern Yellow Pine
It is always preferable to use one that has been pressure treated for Southern yellow pine wood. Beside environmentally friendly, this wood is also known to be strong and highly durable.
While it is more common for builders to use this as railing and structure material, it is fine as well to uncover it and use it for decking instead. The price is nice, and it should serve you for enough years.